In 2009, I wrote an article about how United Airlines broke a singer’s guitar by mishandling his baggage and refused to pay for the damage. He wrote a song about it and it went viral, causing United to reverse its decision and a public relations nightmare for the company. Normally customer dissatisfaction of that magnitude should cause financial hardship to a company unless they change their policies.

Does the name Dave Carroll ring a bell with you? How about the song ‘United Breaks Guitars’? If you have been watching the development of social media, you are, no doubt aware of the situation Dave Carroll, a musician found himself in, with a broken guitar, damaged by United Airlines and a very stubborn airline that refused to budge on compensation. Dave Carroll, wrote a very catchy tune, posted it on Youtube and the song went viral, attracting the attention of CNN. When CNN phoned United Airlines, they had a different response than Dave Carroll was able to obtain on his own. Dave has decided to become a consumer advocate and with partners has created a new site called Gripevine for consumer complaints.

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